RI would net billions of dollars for transportation, energy, clean water, broadband & more

WASHINGTON, DC – For years, U.S. Senator Jack Reed has been advocating for giving America’s lagging infrastructure a major new shot in the arm in the form of increased federal funding. 

Today, the U.S. Senate finally passed a major bipartisan infrastructure bill that will deliver billions of dollars over the next five years to upgrade Rhode Island’s roads, bridges, transit, ports, railways, airports, broadband, water systems, and other forms of infrastructure.

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will invest a total of $1.2 trillion and represents $550 billion in new infrastructure spending over the next five years.

If this bill becomes law, Senator Reed says Rhode Island should get over $1.7 billion in highway funding, $277 million for mass-transit, $45 million for airports, and $23 million for new electric vehicle charging stations.  Senator Reed notes these federal funds will help improve road safety, reduce congestion and vehicle emissions, help Americans save fuel, and pave the way for new innovations and investments.

Rhode Island will also receive $100 million to expand high-speed internet coverage and help low-income residents get affordable reliable Internet access. In the digital age it is no longer enough to have limited or slow internet access. Connectivity facilitates education, opportunity, employment and connection.

“Our nation’s infrastructure is vital to the economic health and well-being of all Americans.  This bill will make significant inroads toward improving our infrastructure and creating jobs.  It will help upgrade our roads and bridges, improve highway safety, and enhance public transit, passenger and freight rail, ports, airports, and waterways.  This federal investment is long overdue.  It will help us build a brighter future and make our economy and communities more resilient,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD).

In addition to federal formula funds that will go directly to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC), and other state entities, Senator Reed also noted that Rhode Island will be able to apply for and receive additional federal funding under a $12.5 billion competitive program for economically significant bridges and a $16 billion program to fund major projects deemed to provide substantial economic benefits.  There’s also $30 billion to make improvements for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, $8 billion set aside for capital improvement grants that could benefit Rhode Island transit, $7.5 billion for the RAISE Grant program, and $5.25 billion for low and no emissions bus grants.

Senator Reed also notes the bipartisan infrastructure bill includes $55 billion for water infrastructure, which would represent the largest investment in clean drinking water and waste water infrastructure in American history.  Senator Reed estimates that Rhode Island should receive about $377.6 million to strengthen the state’s clean water infrastructure under the bill.

“The investments in this bill will modernize our electrical grid, water mains, and sewage systems.  It will help replace old lead pipes and make America more energy-efficient while reducing pollution and creating new jobs,” emphasized Senator Reed

The federal funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would provide Rhode Island a big boost toward improving the state's infrastructure.  Recently the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Rhode Island a C- grade on its infrastructure report card.

“This is a major investment in Rhode Island's infrastructure, a big win for the American people, and a significant achievement by President Biden.  His Administration was able to accomplish something the previous Administration paid lip service to, but never followed through on,” noted Senator Reed. “A bipartisan bill to address our pressing hard infrastructure needs is a testament to the ability of the Biden administration and the Senate to build back better.”

Highlights of the bill include:

  • Over $370 billion for roads, bridges, and major projects.
  • $90 billion for public transit.
  • $73 billion to upgrade America’s power grid.
  • $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, including a $30 billion set aside for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.
  • $65 billion to upgrade America’s broadband infrastructure and bring affordable broadband service to more homes.
  • $55 billion for clean water.
  • $47 billion to address resiliency and protect communities.
  • $25 billion for airports.
  • $21 billion for environmental remediation.
  • $17 billion for ports and waterways.
  • $15 billion for electric vehicles, including $7.5 billion to create a first-ever, national network of charging stations for electric vehicles and billions of dollars for electric buses, including $2.5 billion for zero emission buses and $2.5 billion for low emission busses, and another $2.5 billion for ferries.
  • $11 billion for road safety, including a new Safe Streets for All program to help states and localities reduce crashes and fatalities in their communities, especially for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • $1 billion to help reconnect communities that were divided by the interstate highway system.